DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies clawed back into the game only to see it slip away in the ninth inning.
Elvis Andrus hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth, and the Texas Rangers bounced back from blowing an early five-run lead to beat the Rockies 10-8 on Wednesday.
Carlos Gonzalez and Nick Hundley homered in Colorado’s four-run eighth. Gonzalez’s three-run shot off Tanner Scheppers (4-1) tied it at 8.
It wasn’t enough for Colorado, which fell to 2-12 against the AL this season.
“What happens early in the game keeps hurting us,” Gonzalez said. “Whenever we get going from the beginning, we put the other guys against the wall. Even though we scored eight runs, I believe we missed a lot of opportunities to score more runs and take control of the game.”
Rougned Odor homered and finished with three hits for the third time in the last six games for the Rangers.
Odor, who has raised his average 124 points to .268 since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on June 15, led off the ninth with a walk against closer John Axford (2-3). Adrian Beltre singled and one out later pinch-hitter Prince Fielder was intentionally walked.
Andrus singled to left on drawn-in infield to give the Rangers the lead, and Shawn Tolleson worked a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
It was the second time in the three-game series Axford has surrendered runs in the ninth. He allowed the Rangers to tie Monday’s game but Colorado won it in its last at-bat.
“I tried to throw a curveball down to get a strikeout or a ground ball,” Axford said of Andrus’ hit. “It just went through the hole.”
The Rangers led most of the way after a four-run first inning. Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa nearly escaped down 2-0 but first baseman Wilin Rosario inexplicably cut off a strong throw home from Gonzalez and allowed Beltre to score easily without a play at the plate.
“I don’t know if he would have been out or safe. The only thing I know was a good throw and I cut it,” Rosario said. “Sometimes you hear when they say cut but nobody said anything.”
Shin-Soo Choo made it 4-0 with a single, but followed with four strikeouts a day after hitting for the cycle.
Odor’s solo homer in the second, his sixth of the season, made it 5-0. Colorado answered with a run in the bottom of the inning and three more in the fourth to get within a run, but Delino DeShields stole third and scored on an error in the fifth to make it 6-4.
Odor had an RBI triple in the seventh and scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 8-4. He came to bat in the ninth needing a double for the cycle, but his 10-pitch walk sparked the winning rally.
“Obviously the leadoff walk doesn’t help, but I got ahead of him,” Axford said. “I threw a lot of strikes and he fouled a lot off. And then I was trying to get him to swing something or hit something in play. He didn’t do it and he ended up walking.”
Gonzalez’s home run, his 14th, denied starter Martin Perez his first win in 15 months. Perez missed more than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 14, 2014, and returned to take the loss against Houston on Friday.
He allowed four runs — three earned — and walked four.
DJ LeMahieu had two singles for Colorado to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Rockies: Backup C Michael McKenry did not make his usual start with De La Rosa on Wednesday because of fluid in his right knee. He pinch-hit for De La Rosa in the sixth. Manager Walt Weiss said McKenry should be ready Friday against the Reds.
Rockies: RHP Eddie Butler (3-6) gets his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, facing Cincinnati on Friday.